Elections, Government, Latest News, State Government, West Virginia Legislature

Local delegates join WV NAACP to call for AG Morrisey’s disbarment, impeachment for joining Texas election lawsuit

MORGANTOWN — The West Virginia NAACP is seeking to have Attorney General Patrick Morrisey removed from office and disbarred for joining with 16 other Republican attorneys general to support a Texas lawsuit aimed at overturning election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

WV NAACP President Owens Brown said during a Tuesday press conference that the failed “illegal and unethical” lawsuit sought to violate the constitutional rights – particularly the right to vote – of U.S. citizens.

Brown said that an “indirect ulterior motive” of the suit was the nullification of millions of votes by black citizens in Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee and Philadelphia. The black voters in those cities voted predominantly for Joe Biden and helped swing the votes in the four states in question.

That effort, he said, amounted to a direct assault on the 15th Amendment, which acknowledged black citizens’ right to vote, and that by joining the suit, Morrisey knowingly entered into an effort to disenfranchise black voters.

Morrisey announced he was joining the suit – and effort to swing the presidential election from Biden to President Trump – on Dec. 9. On Dec. 11, the U.S. Supreme Court tossed the case, saying Texas lacked standing: “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.”

Three Democratic delegates joined in the press conference.

Delegate Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, said he plans to introduce a resolution next month, when the legislative session begins, to have the House Judiciary Committee investigate Morrisey’s actions and consider articles of impeachment.

Morrisey, Pushkin said, “knows better than to involve West Virginia in a frivolous to attempt to undermine the electoral process.” Morrisey chose to waste public funds in order to appeal to his voter base and perpetuate a lie.

Pushkin, who participated with other sitting delegates in the 2018 impeachment of state Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry and all the other justices, said he understands that impeachment amounts to overturning the will of the voters. But that’s exactly what Morrisey did by exercising maladministration and participating in the suit.

Pushkin acknowledged that building consensus for the effort won’t be easy with a GOP supermajority, but that’s not a reason to not try.

Delegate Danielle Walker, D-Monongalia, called Morrisey’s actions disrespectful, disgusting and a disregard for the voices of those who voted for Biden.

In the middle of a pandemic with people across the state suffering, she said, “How dare you invest our hard-earned blood, sweat and tears into something you knew was going nowhere. You placed politics over the people of West Virginia.”

Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, spoke form a lawyer’s perspective, giving two reasons that Morrisey was wrong for joining the suit.

One, she said, it violated Morrisey’s legal ethics. Lawyers aren’t supposed to file frivolous suits. They have to have a basis for their claims and facts behind them. “This was a purely political lawsuit.”

In that light, she said, an NAACP resolution on the matter should include a request to the state Bar Association to investigate Morrisey and consider sanctions.

Two, she said, “He’s our state’s top lawyer and he’s acting on our behalf.” West Virginia was formed out of the Civil War, so intervening in a case that would disenfranchise black voters “is particularly painful to me. …As our state’s top legal officer, where does get the idea that you can pick and choose what votes are counted?”

In response to a Monday request from The Dominion Post – when the press conference was announced – Morrisey issued a statement to media statewide.

He said, “I strongly condemned violence at the U.S. Capitol as it happened Jan. 6 and continue to do so. It’s absolutely wrong for these radical, far-left delegates and their allies to make allegations out of thin air and try to politicize the death of a brave law enforcement official and other individuals.

“Our December brief sought to fully investigate allegations that several states had not properly interpreted their own laws as they conducted their elections,” he said. “It’s absolutely appropriate for a state attorney general to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to get the law right — holding free and fair elections should be one of the most important goals of our republic. That’s what that brief focused on.”

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